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Big backing for powerhouse regions

Four out of five people support devolved powers for regions in England, a new poll suggests.

A ComRes poll commissioned by the BBC shows 82% of 3,000 adults surveyed by phone last month would support regional devolution, while 60% backed allowing English MPs only to vote on English issues.

The major political parties at Westminster have clamoured to back the idea of handing powers to local regions since the Scottish referendum No vote and the poll comes after Chancellor George Osborne yesterday announced Greater Manchester would be the first to benefit from plans to give cities more freedoms and powers.

The poll also found just one in five people said they wished Scotland had voted to leave the UK, while two-thirds agreed that Britain was better off by having a strong capital city, although many expressed the view too much money was spent on London.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the BBC the Government was undertaking "the biggest decentralisation of power for decades".

Under reforms announced by Mr Osborne earlier, Greater Manchester would have the first "metro mayor" outside London, who would have responsibility for policing, a £300 million housing investment fund and strategic planning powers.

The Government will legislate to enable the changes, with the potential for the mayoral election to take place in 2017.

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